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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 39,363

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

Sexist, racist – the web hounding of Ellen Pao shows the trolls are winning

Could a woman ever have won the affection of Reddit – the closest thing the internet has to a frat house? With the resignation of Ellen Pao as interim chief executive of the link-sharing and discussion site, we may never know. Because which woman would be brave and foolish enough to take on a high-profile role at the site now?

In the eight months after taking on the job, Pao did what Reddit’s board asked her to: she tried to expand the site’s audience beyond its core user base of young, white American men. For that, she was compared to Hitler, had her personal details posted online, endured crude jokes about her sex and ethnicity, and saw 213,000 people sign a petition calling for her to be ousted.

But let’s rewind. Why should anyone care what happens on a glorified discussion board with far less name recognition than peers such as Facebook or Twitter? The nature of the internet means that even incredibly popular sites – and Reddit has more than 160 million users – can be unknown to outsiders. But even if you haven’t heard of Reddit, you will have seen one of its creations. It spawns many of the viral news stories that drive so much traffic to the mainstream media.

Over the past few years Reddit has also come to be associated with a particular type of internet user: the kind of people who believe that unless they are given unfettered space to be as offensive and disruptive as they want, we might as well declare free speech dead and all move to North Korea. In the past the site has hosted forums with names such as Creepshots, dedicated to photographs of women taken without their knowledge; Jailbait, where users shared pornographic images of women who looked underage; and a whole slew of racist microsites known collectively as the Chimpire. The rationale for all these was the usual one given for bad behaviour online: don’t get mad – it’s just the internet, not real life.


Serena Is a Champion, Stop Talking About Her Body

Great article

(WOMENSENEWS)-- The body shaming tennis champion Serena Williams constantly faces is a window to a world where other women of color live, too. Lesbian and bisexual women are also targets because they often dare to step outside of norms, eschewing traditional forms of femininity.

Recently, Williams has been accused of using steroids by David Frum, an editor at The Atlantic, and used by The New York Times to spark a conversation on body image among top female tennis players. In the past, sports writer Jason Whitlock has piled on with comments like: "I am not fundamentally opposed to junk in the trunk, although my preference is a stuffed onion over an oozing pumpkin" in referring to Williams' derriere.

While we should be celebrating Williams' sixth Wimbledon championship and her 21st grand slam title, instead we are forced to ponder what is too masculine for women, especially female athletes. In this, one of the world's greatest athletes offers insight into how women navigate beauty norms, especially when the skin they're in is not the feminine default.

The truth is many girls and women of color have been ostracized and denied opportunity and access because of a perception they are further away from the dominant beauty ideal. These themes are being tackled head on in "Advantageous," a recently released science-fiction movie streamed on Netflix. The movie focuses particularly on age, and the constant pursuit of women to look younger. Teen girls of all races are susceptible to this critique, too, as illustrated by The Body Project, where Joan Jacobs Brumberg shows how adolescent girls' bodies have become projects.


"That's what happened between me and Clark"-- Revising old Hollywood's greatest scandal

It’s unclear what news story, exactly, made Loretta Young — one of the most beautiful and celebrated actresses of Classic Hollywood — first wonder if she had been date-raped by one of the biggest stars of all time.

It was 1998 and the 85-year-old Young was living a life of comfort and splendor in Palm Springs. At 80, she’d married French fashion designer Jean Louis; until his death in 1997, they had reveled in their collective fabulousness, drawing attention wherever they went, like an irresistible vortex of glamour.

At that point, Young was best remembered for The Loretta Young Show, a pioneering and massively successful program that had put her in American living rooms for the bulk of the '50s. But that had been Young’s second act. She’d first appeared onscreen in 1917, at the age of 3; by age 40, she’d appeared in over a hundred films. Even years out of the spotlight, her distinctive doe eyes and name would have been recognizable to anyone born before 1950.

Young was also known for her part in one of the biggest Hollywood cover-ups of all time: In 1935, at the age of 23, she became pregnant with Clark Gable’s child — while Gable was married to another woman. Over the course of the next two years, Young managed to hide the pregnancy, birth, and young infant for more than a year, eventually manufacturing an adoption narrative to bring her daughter home.


"A Sea Change": With 100 Women in Congress, Lawmakers Go on Offensive

"A Sea Change": With 100 Women in Congress, Lawmakers Go on Offensive with Landmark Pro-Choice Bill

In a landmark push to turn back the record tide of anti-choice restrictions, pro-choice U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill to expand insurance coverage of abortion. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or EACH Woman Act, would dismantle the nearly 40-year-old Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion, except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. The Hyde Amendment denies coverage of abortion to many of the country’s poorest women, who are disproportionately women of color. We speak with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), lead sponsor of the bill. "In the past, we’ve just been on the defense constantly, just defending a woman’s right to choose, a woman’s right to privacy, Roe v. Wade. Well, now it’s about time we take the offense," Lee says. "This is a major first step."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: In a landmark push to turn back the record tide of anti-choice restrictions, pro-choice lawmakers have introduced a bill to expand insurance coverage of abortion. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance, or EACH Woman, Act would dismantle the nearly 40-year-old Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. The Hyde Amendment cuts off funding for a routine medical procedure sought by one in three women, to members of the military and their families, federal employees, women in federal prisons, Peace Corps volunteers, Indian Health Service clients and Medicaid recipients. Research has shown one in four women on Medicaid who want to end their pregnancies instead give birth when the funding is unavailable. While a minority of states do provide Medicaid coverage for abortion, a number of states have gone beyond the Hyde Amendment, banning abortion coverage on any insurance plan or on plans sold through healthcare exchanges.

AMY GOODMAN: Dubbed "the third rail of abortion politics" by MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, taxpayer funding for abortion is an issue even pro-choice Democrats have hesitated to touch. In 2010, President Obama issued an executive order ensuring the ban on federal funds for abortion would stand under his signature healthcare law. But on Wednesday, Democratic Congressmember Barbara Lee of Oakland and her colleagues introduced the EACH Woman Act to repeal the ban and prevent political interference in abortion coverage by private insurers. Congressmember Lee spoke Wednesday along with other sponsors of the bill, including Congressmember Judy Chu of California and Congressmember Raúl Grijalva of Arizona. This is Congressmember Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE: Today, I stand as a member of Congress, one of the first in our history, having 100 women sitting in Congress. This is a time for leadership.


For Inez, Johnnie, and Jo Ann: The Unsung (S)heroes of the Civil Rights Movement

(An Older article, but I found this on FB and thought I'd share)

Each year in America we dedicate February to Black History Month. During this time, our children are told the stories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and many of the other prolific figures in the modern Civil Rights Movement. We celebrate these champions for our rights and equality (as we should), but tend to give very little thought to the other people who were there in the trenches, working alongside the Martins and Rosas to make things happen. There are many “unsung” heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, many of them women.

Today, I would like to take a moment and pay homage to some of these figures as well.

How many of us have ever heard the name Jo Ann Robinson? Robinson was an educator in Montgomery, AL in the 1950’s. She taught English at Alabama State College (now my alma mater, Alabama State University), and was a member of the Women’s Political Council and later the Montgomery Improvement Association. Ms. Robinson was an activist in many political causes of the day, but it was her role in launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott that made her the (s)hero we should be celebrating today.

Upon notification of Mrs. Parks’ arrest, Robinson spent the night in the basement of one of the campus buildings, mimeographing 35,000 handbills that were to be disseminated to Montgomery’s Black community. These handbills were how the community was able to learn so quickly of Parks’ arrest and the subsequent boycott of the buses. Robinson made sure to inform as many people as possible of the boycott, and aided in prolonging the duration of the event far past the initial one day that it had been planned by organizing transportation to the boycotters. In 1960 Ms. Robinson left Montgomery but remained active in political causes aimed at the betterment of treatment for women and Blacks. She died in 1992.

Johnnie Carr is another of the great Civil Rights leaders that hails from Montgomery, AL. She was a childhood friend of Rosa Parks, and was one who aided Parks in becoming involved in civil rights long before the bus boycott in 1955. In 1944, Carr and her husband, along with other friends (which include Parks and her husband) organized to defend a Black woman in Montgomery who had been gang raped by a group of six White men. Mrs. Carr was also one of the key supporters in the movement to bring Dr. King to Montgomery, and is lauded throughout the area as one of the three major Civil Rights icons of the era – the other two being Dr. King and Mrs. Parks.

Read more: http://www.forharriet.com/2013/02/for-inez-johnnie-and-jo-ann-unsung.html#ixzz3fDmIJZLK

Black Women Vilified as a ‘Lesbian Wolf Pack’ Speak for Themselves in a New Film

Just before 2 AM oN an August morning in 2006, seven gay black women were harassed as they walked down a street in New York City’s West Village. A man seated on a fire hydrant outside a movie theater called them “dyke bitches,” according to one of the women. He told them, “I’ll fuck you straight.” Dissatisfied by their response, he spit at them and threw a cigarette.

What happened next, a confrontation which led to four of the women being convicted on felony charges and spending years in prison, is the subject of Out in the Night, a documentary streaming online until July 23 and which premiered on PBS and Logo TV last week.

In short, the man—who was discovered to have commented online that “women should welcome your advances because that’s how the race should propagate itself” and that “80 percent of serial killers are homosexual”—sustained stab wounds after one of the women pulled a knife in the midst of the melee that followed. The women, who had traveled to the Village from New Jersey that night, suffered among them a bruised eye and busted lip, a fistful of dreadlocks pulled from the scalp, and choke marks on the neck, among other injuries. The women maintain that their harasser swung first, and that his aggression eventually drew the attention and involvement of onlookers.

But in the eyes of many of the corporate media outlets that reported on the incident, the women were the savage and bloodthirsty aggressors. A New York Post headline called the incident “Attack of the Killer Lesbians.” Other headlines read: “The Case of the Lesbian Beatdown,” “Gal’s Growl: Hear me Roar,” and “Girls Gone Wilding.” Even the staid New York Times ran a headline that implied that a benign encounter had gone wrong because some woman couldn’t lighten up: “Man is stabbed in attack after admiring a stranger.”


Blunt Talk with the Blunt Instrument: On Giving Advice to White Male Writers

Great interview!
Earlier last month, poet and Electric Literature’s resident Blunt Instrument advice columnist Elisa Gabbert fielded a question from a white male poet who recognized his privilege as such and wanted to know how to continue writing and publishing ethically within a publishing system that lacks diverse representation. Unlike many in the publishing world who admit that there is a problem, but don’t put forth ideas for how to fix it, Gabbert made concrete suggestions which came down to: read more women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers, and don’t take up more than your fair share of time and space in the literary ecosystem. Many white male writers took this to mean that Gabbert wanted them to stop writing, period, so they unleashed their rage where it festers and boils best: the comments section.

As a bi-racial Asian American writer who interviews authors, and runs a library at a high school whose population is 94% people of color, the lack of diversity in publishing concerns me, so I was eager to discuss and analyze the reaction with Elisa. We conducted this conversation over Google Chat.

Super PAC’ Raises $15.6 Million for Hillary Clinton Campaign

The “super PAC” supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton will report that it has raised $15.6 million when it files its disclosure statements, officials with the group said Thursday morning, with donations from big names like George Soros, the liberal philanthropist, and the Hollywood moguls Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Guy Cecil, the group’s chief strategist and co-chairman who recently took control of the “super PAC,” called Priorities USA Action, after an organizational shake-up, said that $12.5 million had been raised in the last four weeks. The total amount reported is for the first six months of the year.

Even with the recent surge in fund-raising, the amount is far less than the $100 million that Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate, is expected to report he has raised through various entities.

“It may seem early to many of us, but with the amount of money pouring in from the far right wing, the time has come for our side to kick things into high gear,” Mr. Cecil said. “We have a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but we are starting to see some real momentum.”


Privilege makes them do it — what a study of Internet trolls reveals

The British government just put up a website with advice on how to fight back against Internet trolls. Popular Science magazine decided "trolls and spambots" were shouting down scientific debate; Christianity Today also ended online comments on its news and features, and the news service Reuters pulled the plug on its comment page for news stories. Humans have said and written nasty things about each other ever since there were humans; has the Internet changed anything? Whitney Phillips is a lecturer in communications at Humboldt State University and a media studies scholar. Her troll research, in a new book, "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," asks the same thing. Her conclusion? "N2M" — not too much.

You contend that trolls don't break new ground.

The assumption is that trolling is this aberrant thing; that trolls are sociopaths. But what makes them important culturally is not the ways in which they're aberrant but the points of overlap between trolling and behaviors in day-to-day life. Trolls are criticized for this antagonistic rhetorical style that's present in politics, in academia, in other spheres of culture, but trolling behaviors are the ones condemned as aberrant.

Trolls' strategies for getting attention are similar to the strategies employed by sensationalist media outlets that can include blogs, Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail — the Daily Troll, as it's referred to — that deliberately try to get people to click on stories: knee-jerk, sensationalist, exploitative coverage of often tragic stories.

Trolls aren't inventing anything. Every single trope they engage with exists in real life offline; [they are] just picking up cultural detritus and weaponizing stuff that's already on the ground.


Female pastors in Clarendon County receive letters threatening their safety

Two Clarendon County pastors say they have been targeted with threats of violence just because they are women.

The two pastors received letters where the writer used Bible verses to threaten the women, leaving them concerned about their safety. One letter was left on the front door of Society Hill AME Church on June 10th for Pastor Mary Rhodes.

“Whoever wrote this letter has taken the time to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren, and I have no clue who you are” Pastor Rhodes said.

Four days later, Pastor Valarie Bartley received the same letter at Reevesville AME Church.

The writer, who identifies as Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming, says in the letter that “the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

“A lot of people do not respect female pastors,” Pastor Rhodes said. “Sexism in the church has been around for the longest time and it always gets, to my opinion, sort of hidden under the other issues that are there.”

Investigators from the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office say that one other church led by a female pastor also received the letter.

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